Photography: Frank Augstein / AP
With nominations for the next Conservative party leader and prime minister well under way, Rishi Sunak was in the lead on Saturday, having already crossed the 100 mark, followed by Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt. But what happens next?
As the party prepares to choose its third leader in just over six weeks, here’s a step-by-step guide to the process.
Related: Johnson, Mordaunt or Sunak: who supports whom as the next leader of the Tories
How will Liz Truss’s successor be chosen?
Applications are on the way, being open on Thursday evening, and closing on Monday at 2pm. To move on to the next stage, candidates must have the support of a minimum of 100 Conservative MPs (357 in total).
What happens when the nominations close?
If only one candidate manages to win the support of at least 100 of his colleagues by the deadline, that person will become the next leader of the Conservative party and the country.
If more than one candidate crosses the 100 mark, between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm on Monday 24 October there will be a vote among the Conservative MPs, with the results announced at 6:00 pm.
If there are three candidates, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated and a further round of voting will take place between the two finalists between 18.30 and 20.30, with the result announced at 21.00.
If, after that trial, there are still two candidates left – meaning no one has withdrawn – the 1922 Committee (the 18-member executive of the Conservative Party, which is leading the process) leaves the final decision to the members of the Conservative Party. . The last time, in September, party members voted for Truss, despite Sunak leading the MPs.
This final round of voting by qualified members, the party claims, would be conducted using a “secure online voting” system, with voting closing at 11:00 on Friday 28 October. The result would then be announced later the same day.
There would also be at least one theft between the last two, which is expected to be broadcast on the BBC.
When will it all be over?
The winner will be announced by the end of Friday 28 October.
Could Conservative Party members be excluded from the trial?
While completely excluding them from the voting process would likely require a change to the party’s constitution, there are two ways in which party members cannot be called to vote. One would be if one of the last two candidates retires, as did Andrea Leadsom in 2016 when Theresa May became the leader. And the second would be if only one candidate crossed the threshold of 100 parliamentary votes.
Once a final candidate has been chosen, how does he become a PM?
The winner of the contest will become the leader of the party. Then, the king will ask them to form a government, making them the next British prime minister.
Could there be a general election?
Despite appeals from the Labor Party, the appointment of a new prime minister does not require a general election. Officially, the next general election could be as late as January 2025. With Conservatives far behind in the polls, it’s unlikely that a new prime minister would risk a general election in the near future, but they may decide to call one sooner.